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Filming at Mono Lake, California

Written on April 3, 2013

Mono Lake

Mono Lake is a shallow saline soda lake located in California’s Eastern Sierra. The 70 square-mile lake (twice the size of San Francisco) offers salty blue waters, exposed limestone towers, volcanos, mountains and streams.

The area has a rocky desert landscape with little year-round rainfall. Summer days are hot, with cold crisp nights. Winters have snow-capped mountain backdrops. The aroma of sagebrush fills the air.

Mono Lake is an important habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. Given the high salt content, the lake has no fish.

South Tufa is one of the more popular spots to film from. Sunrise and sunset shots offer the most spectacular looks, as are full moon events.

The road leading up to this location offers spectacular arid looks driving past the Mono Craters.

Mono Lake is located a short drive from many other spectacular film locations including Yosemite National Park and the Tioga Pass.

Film Permits

The permitting process differs depending on whether you are filming on county owned land, CalTrans roads or USFS land. Filming on privately owned land needs to be arranged with the property owner. Mono Lake is a conservation area, so strict rules are applied to protect the location and preserve its use for visitors.

Film Crew

Film crew and equipment from the major production centers of Los Angeles or San Francisco are about 5hrs drive away although some more local options are also available.

The nearby town of Lee Vining is the closest place to sleep crew. The Mobil Gas Station is (unexpectedly) one of the better places to eat.

If you are looking to film in the Mono Lake area and require a film fixer or full production service support, please contact us. We also have shooting crew including directors, DP’s, videographers and photographers, throughout California.